As of Monday, millions were still without power for homes and businesses in Florida and the Carolinas.
The USCCB is calling on Catholics to pray for those in the United States and Caribbean islands affected by Hurricane Ian. The storm wreaked havoc on the coasts of Florida and the Carolinas last week, claiming the lives of at least 85 and leaving tens of billions of dollars in damages in its wake.
Hurricane Ian quickly became one of the strongest storms to ever hit the US mainland, with gale force winds reaching as high as 150 mph. Videos have been circulating social media platforms showing widespread flooding, electrical fires, and even sudden tornadoes.
USCCB president Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles called for prayers from the faithful in an open statement. The prelate lamented the widespread devastation that has upended the lives of so many in the last five days:
“The recent hurricanes have brought intense wind, rain, storm surges, and flooding that have impacted dioceses in the United States and the Caribbean. I am deeply saddened to see the images of the damage and devastation left in their wake. I call on Catholics and all people of good will to pray for those who have lost their lives, and for the comfort of their grieving families and communities,” Archbishop Gomez wrote.
Archbishop Gomez then turned his comments towards those who have lost their homes and businesses to the storm. According to Reuters, there were as many as 600,000 homes and businesses without power in Florida as of Monday morning, and an estimated 1.1 million more without power in the Carolinas.
“We also pray for those who have lost their homes and businesses, that they may find peace and comfort in God’s enduring love for us, even amidst these most trying circumstances.” Archbishop Gomez continued, “And we pray for the emergency responders and those who have begun the work of providing for the needs of the impacted in these communities in the recovery efforts, that they may be kept from harm as they seek to bring relief, comfort, and healing.”
The archbishop concluded by praying for the intercession of the Blessed Mother for protection for those in dire straits after this massive storm.
“We entrust our prayers to our Blessed Mother, and we ask for her continued protection and for her intercession in comforting those who are suffering,” Archbishop Gomez wrote.
Catholics who pray for victims of hurricane Ian could also seek the intercession of St. Medardus, a patron saint invoked against bad weather. St. Florian would be another worthy choice, as he is invoked against floods and fires. Click here for an excellent prayer for victims of natural disasters from the Jesuit Xavier University.